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Friday, May 30, 2008

Gardener's Skillet - aka Vegetarian Shepherd Pie

I am 100% addicted to this site

Utterly, completely, totally love. The site may scare you, as it's "Vegan" but it has fantastic recipes that are really easy to customize. I live with a non-Vegan and not once has he ever complained about the food from this site. We do customize - often times we'll use beef bullion instead of vegetable broth (because it's what we have), regular milk instead of dairy, eggs instead of egg substitutes. Still. it's good.

Anyway, to get to the point. I'm currently do the CORE plan on Weight-Watchers and therefore eating has gotten slightly more tricky. I found this recipe, decided to make it...and it was good. Beyond good. Delicious. Yummy. Fantastic. And I present for you. :-D

Skillet Gardener's Pie
(printer-friendly version)

I used kidney beans here because I like their flavor and texture in this dish. But feel free to substitute about 1- 1/2 cups of any cooked beans or lentils. Or, if faux meats are your thing, rehydrate some TVP, crumble up a couple of Boca burgers, or chop up some seitan and use it instead.

2 pounds Yukon gold or red potatoes
1/2 cup soy milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced, leaves minced and reserved
8 ounces mushrooms, diced
2 cups fat-free vegetable broth
16 ounces kidney beans, cooked
2 cups green beans, cut in 1" pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 tsp. dried)
1/4 teaspoon sage
2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water (or veg. broth)
extra rosemary for garnish

Scrub the potatoes and cut them into cubes. (I leave mine unpeeled, but if you want you can peel them before dicing.) Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender. Reserve a cup of their cooking water, if possible, and drain. Place in a large bowl, add the soymilk, and mash until smooth, adding a little of the potato-cooking water if they seem too dry. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and set aside in a warm place.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the "pie" filling. Spray a large non-stick or cast iron skillet with canola oil. Heat it on a medium-high burner and add the onions. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, and sauté for 3 more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth, kidney beans, green beans, and herbs. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes and all vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste (I added a little hickory smoke salt). There should still be some liquid in the pan, but if it has become too dry, add a little of the potato-cooking water. Add the spinach and stir until it's completely wilted. Mix the corn starch with the water until smooth, and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring, until mixture has thickened.

Spoon the potatoes evenly over the top of the filling and sprinkle with chopped rosemary. If potatoes have cooled, put the skillet under the broiler for a minute or two. Serve immediately while hot.

Things to keep in mind:
- Keep the heat lower to keep the juices in there
- Celery Leaves go in with the herbs (and make a huge difference. Don't forget them)


Monday, May 19, 2008

Mexican Rice

Vegetarian times had an entire Mexican meal spread in their March magazine (which I just got) and I went ahead and made it. Everything was good but the Mexican Rice was especially good. I thought I'd share it, plus it looked so pretty when it was done.

1 tbs. olive oil
1 cup instant brown rice
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
8 green onions, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tbs.)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tbs. tomato paste
12 ounces or a can of black beans (optional but recommended.)

1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice and saute 3 to 4 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add corn, peas, green onions, garlic, cumin and oregano, saute 1 minute.
2. Spoon tomato paste in 2-cup measuring cup. Add enough boiling water to make 2 cups and stir to combine. Pour tomato paste mixture into rice and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, add black beans if desired and fluff with fork.

The rest of the meal can be found in these links. I recommend the tacos but warn that if the slaw is made...beware. It's beyond spicy. :-D

Chickpea Tacos
Spicy Orange Slaw - If you don't like spicy foods I recommend skipping the cayenne pepper altogether. It's really good but incredibly spicy.
In-a-pinch Profiteroles - fantastically good. Ice-cream with a coating and chocolate sauce.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Carrot Cake

The recipe is from here. The original recipe yields a two-layer cake, which would be too much for my two person household, one of whom is on a diet :), so my rendition is pretty much the original halved. It's still moist and flavorful and yummy!


For the cake:
4 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup (110 g) brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup (150 g) white sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)
1 1/2 cup (190 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

* Original recipe also uses 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, which I skipped because I didn't have the former and I dislike the latter.

For the cream cheese frosting (icing):
8 oz (220 g) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (55 g) butter, softened
1 cup (130 g) confectioners' (powdered) sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Combine grated carrots and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350º F/175º C.
Grease and flour a 9-inch (23 cm) cake pan.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, and stir into the wet mixture until absorbed.
Lastly, stir in the carrot mixture and the walnuts.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
Remove and let cool on a cooling rack.
When completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.

For the frosting:
Cream together the cream cheese and butter.
Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar.
Frost cooled cake.

* I only had 4 oz of cream cheese, so, as you can see, I was a little short on frosting:

Chicken Curry

Recipe from Indian Food and Folklore.


2 cups plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teasoon turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 lb (450 g) chicken pieces, skinned
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil


Place yogurt, garlic and all spices in a large bowl and mix well.
Add the chicken pieces and toss to cover with yogurt mixture.
Cover and leave to marinade for at least 4 hours.

Heat the oil in a pan.
Add the onion and fry until golden.
Add the chicken and the marinade.
Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cod Pakistani Style

A friend sent me this recipe with very high recommendations. We don't eat tilapia at home, but I tried it with cod. It turned out delicious just the same.


1 lb (450 g) cod fillets
1/4 cup olive oil
14.5 oz (400 g) canned diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons ginger
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves (skinned)
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek seed
the juice of one small lemon
2 teaspoons salt
2 jalapeno peppers slit in half, length-wise. I used 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder instead - we cannot tolerate that much spiciness :).


In a food processor blend tomatoes, garlic and ginger into a smooth paste. Add oil and pulse a few times.
Put the paste in a skillet and simmer on low heat, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until the oil begins to separate from the liquid.
Add the bay leaves, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek seed, salt and the jalapenos.
Stir well and allow the mixture to cook for a few more minutes.
Poke a few holes in each cod fillet, and add them to the paste.
Add the juice of the lemon.
Simmer for 10 more minutes or until fish is cooked through.
Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve over white rice (or, with a lot of bread).